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Meet Barbara Cardinali MacFerrin of Barbara MacFerrin Photography in Boulder

Today we’d like to introduce you to Barbara Cardinali MacFerrin.

Barbara, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born in Argentina and my family emigrated to the United States in the 1970s. My father ran a photography lab along with two of his brothers in Louisville, Kentucky, where I was raised until I was 12 years old. Our family then moved to Colorado in the 90’s where I still reside. On my 17th birthday, my dad gifted me a film camera – a Minolta X-370. I loved that camera! I took pictures of everything – I especially loved photographing the beautiful Colorado landscape. For many years, photography was a hobby and became a passion. It never occurred to me to try and start a photography business, mostly because I didn’t think I could do it and didn’t think I could make any money taking pictures, especially of nature.

I was always very driven to achieve goals. One of my goals was to be the first in the family to attend college – so I did. I got my bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. At the time, the IT field paid well, so that’s why I chose that career – not because I was passionate about it. I continued to work in that industry for about 12 years until I couldn’t do it anymore. I was having panic attacks; I was anxious because I knew I wasn’t filling my soul. On the contrary – I was working a soul-sucking job just to pay the bills. I felt completely stuck. I knew I needed a good paying job to pay for my house and new car (sound familiar?). I often thought: “there has to be more to life than this!” I started meditating daily and started listening to my gut – my intuition. I decided to sell the house, my car and quit my job. Some people thought I was crazy! Some friends disappeared because I guess they couldn’t understand why I was changing my life. Some close friends stuck around and are still good friends to this day. I ended up renting a room in a lady’s house I had just met on Craigslist (Craigslist is a classified advertisements website with sections devoted to jobs and housing, etc.) and I got a job as a social worker which paid 30% less than the last IT job I had. It wasn’t as stressful but eventually was no longer fulfilling. I kept trying to figure out what it was I needed to do as a career that would be rewarding. I tried massage therapy school for a while. I liked the idea of helping to heal people, but it didn’t appeal to me as a job.

During this time, in late 2010, I met the love of my life, Mike (and his two children: Tommy and Leslie). We have been married now for almost seven years and we have a five-year-old daughter, Adella. After Adella was born, I decided to go back to college to get a master’s degree. I thought maybe I would figure out what I wanted to do then. I enrolled in a program called Information and Communications Technology for Development. Through the program, students balance technology, and societal need to creatively solve problems in underserved communities. I found an interest in the issues surrounding climate change and its effects on polar bears and indigenous Arctic communities. I taught myself to shoot and edit videos, short documentaries and eventually traveled with a science team to Churchill, Manitoba in Canada to photograph and film polar bears. It was an amazing experience, to say the least! (

Once graduation was approaching, I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I was working on temporary video projects for the university, but I knew that once I was no longer a student, those gigs would end. I started looking at photography again, and this time I thought: what if I photograph people? I stumbled upon a photography mentor online who teaches photographers how to run a sustainable photography business. I learned about starting a business and began photographing friends and they loved their photographs and the experience. I realized that it was photography all along that I was meant to do! I taught myself photoshop and through many hours of learning and trial and error, I eventually developed my own signature fine art editing style.

Has it been a smooth road?
No, it has not been a smooth road. Some of the struggles involved working many years in an industry I ended up hating because it did not fill my soul. The panic attacks and anxiety were my soul telling me that I needed to listen to my heart and follow my passion. I am thankful that I didn’t take the medication route to numb the anxiety. I was determined to figure out where the panic and anxiety was coming from. It involved a lot of crying and many sleepless nights, but once I started meditating and learned to listen to my intuition, the anxiety and panic attacks stopped! Sometimes I think that “if only” I had followed my photography passion in the beginning, I would have avoided thousands of dollars in student loan debt.

My path definitely took a lot of twists and turns but I know that everything I’ve gone through was a lesson learned that helped me to move forward. They were all ‘stepping-stones” to get to where I am now, and what I’m doing now is a stepping-stone to what will come next. Even though it wasn’t a smooth road, I wouldn’t change anything because I may not have met my husband nor have the beautiful family I have now!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Barbara MacFerrin Photography – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I am an award-winning fine art portrait photographer based in Boulder, Colorado and have earned the title of Accredited Portrait Master Associate Photographer. My work is inspired by Renaissance and Baroque old master paintings. I love creating images that are not just photographs but are works of art.  My portraits make a bold statement and I capture the best possible version of my subjects often bringing out mood and emotion. My work is unique – I am often told by clients that they’ve never seen photographs like mine before.

I offer my clients a special experience when they come in for a photography session. I like to pamper the ladies with professional hair and makeup and make them feel like a model for a day! I also have a selection of beautiful dresses and jewelry that they can choose from to play “dress up”.  Many women and girls leave my sessions feeling more confident and empowered because they got to be themselves, have fun and see their true beauty as I see it. When clients purchase their portraits, they don’t just get a thumb drive with digital files that they may never look at again; they receive a beautiful fine art print that they can frame and keep forever.

I am proud to be a business owner and show my daughter that you can do what you love and share what you love with the world. I’ve worked for years to excel at my photography and to provide the best experiences for my clients. My clients are not just “clients’ – I consider them my friends.

My goal is to open my own studio (currently I rent a space that I use as needed) and have my best works displayed on the walls and in galleries!  I have had many photographers express interest in learning how to achieve this fine art editing style so I started offering workshops. In the near future, I will teach in-person workshops across the U.S. and abroad! I really enjoy teaching and I love sharing my passion!

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I have lived in the Denver Metro Area for over 28 years.  I love the diversity Denver has to offer in terms of its people, the culture, the food, and even the weather! It can be summer one day and winter the next!

What I like least is that it is getting so expensive, that it’s more and more difficult for individuals and families to buy or even rent homes. Businesses struggle to stay afloat due to skyrocketing rent. I’ve noticed the dramatic rise in the population since I moved here and traffic has definitely gotten worse over the years.

However, it’s a beautiful city and I can’t imagine living anywhere else and not seeing the mountains! Come out to visit and while you’re here, I’d love to have you in the studio for a fine art photography session!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All photos ©Barbara MacFerrin Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageDenver is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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